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Bell and Drum Towers

the bell tower at night with lights in XianBell Tower

The Bell Tower, a stately traditioanl architecture, marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. Standing at this site, and viewing from East, South, West, and North Street, you will have a panoramic view of city wall of Ming Dynasty.

The Bell Tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers. It is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, and 36 meters (or 118feet)high, which stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (or 116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (or 28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xi'an was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is mirrored in the size and historic significance of its tower.

Bell Tower has three layers of eaves but only two stories. Inside, a staircase spirals up. The grey bricks of the square base, the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-plating on the roof and gilded color painting make the tower a colorful and dramatic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture. In addition to enhancing the beauty of the building, the three layers of eaves reduce the impact of rain on the building.

Initially, the northwest corner of the tower housed the famous Jingyun Bell from the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that although nothing had changed in the tower, the Jingyun Bell fell silent during the Ming Dynasty, so the current bell, a much smaller one weighing only 5 tons, was cast. The original Jingyun Bell can now be seen in Forest of Stone Steles Museum.

the drum tower in XianDrum Tower

The Drum Tower, located in northwest of Bell Tower, acrossing the Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square, shares the old ballad: "the 'sister buildings' or 'morning bell and dark drum'". From Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368),the drum were used to a signal the running of time or an occasion used as an alarm in emergency situation. 

The Drum Tower, built in 1380 during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was renovated twice in 1699 and 1740 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a two-storied post and panel structure, 34 meters (about 112 feet) high and 52.6 meters (about 172 feet) long from east to west as well as 38 meters (about 124 feet) wide from north to south. The architecture style of the Drum Tower is a combination of the styles of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the Qing Dynasty.

Nowadays, the Drum Tower fades away its power as a timer but it takes on some new elments to attract vistors for its musical performances and cultural glamour it shines, for exmple, 1996 saw a new drum, that covered by a whole piece of cowhide was given a place on the Drum Tower. It is the biggest drum in China at present.


Bell and Drum Tower Tour

Bell and Drum Towers are the symbols of ancient Xian,  when bathing in the ancient site, your mind will pour into a picture of significant reveries of morden and ancient culture, a different enjoyble appreciation!